VIII. Appendix: Alcohol and Drug Laws and Education

Massachusetts Laws

The welfare and safety of students and their guests are central to the university’s policies on alcohol and other drugs. At the same time, the university must adhere to the requirements of federal and state law.

All members of the Tufts community and their guests are expected to abide by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These laws include the following essential elements:

  • Individuals under the age of twenty-one may not buy, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages.
  • No individual, regardless of age, may carry open containers of alcoholic beverages in public, including outside of buildings (except in the context of a controlled outdoor event where alcohol is served to those of age), public areas of residence halls, lounges, or other college buildings (except for areas that have been reserved and have controls in place for a registered event.
  • No one may provide alcohol to individuals who are under twenty-one years of age
  • No individual may possess or use illegal substances or misuse prescription drugs.
  • No one may sell tickets or charge admissions to events where alcohol is present without a valid license to sell alcohol.
  • It is illegal to misrepresent one’s age, or to possess or use falsified identification. See the section in this handbook on fraudulent use of identification.
  • The cities of Medford and Somerville have ordinances related to open containers of alcohol in public areas, regardless of age.
Counseling and Treatment for Alcohol and Other Drugs Abuse

The University encourages Tufts students with alcohol and other substance abuse problems to seek assistance and treatment. At Tufts, a variety of resources exist where additional information can be obtained about alcohol and other substance abuse and forms of treatment.

For students on the Somerville/Medford campus, support is available from the following:

The Dean of Students Affairs Office (617-627-3158) and the University Chaplain’s office (617-627-3427) are available for referrals to other resources in the community.  The Dean of Student Affairs Office also assists student through the re-entry process for any leave taken (personal, medical, or disciplinary).

Health Risks of Alcohol

Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.

Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.

Those who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and intellectual disabilities. In addition, research indicates that the children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk of becoming alcoholics.

Health Risks of Controlled Substances: Possible Effects of Overdose, and Withdrawal Syndrome

Narcotics

  • Possible Effects: Euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, nausea
  • Possible Effects of Overdose: Slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, possible death
  • Withdrawal Syndrome: Watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills and sweating

Depressants

  • Possible Effects: Slurred speech, disorientation, drunken behavior without odor of alcohol
  • Possible Effects of Overdose: Shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, possible death
  • Withdrawal Syndrome: Anxiety, insomnia, tremors, convulsions, possible death

Stimulants

  • Possible Effects: Illusions and hallucinations, poor perception of time and distance
  • Possible Effects of Overdose: Longer, more intense “trip” episodes, psychosis, possible death
  • Withdrawal syndrome not reported

Hallucinogens

  • Possible Effects: Euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, increased appetite, disoriented behavior
  • Possible Effects of Overdose: Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis
  • Withdrawal Syndrome: Insomnia, hyperactivity, and decreased appetite occasionally reported
Local, State, and Federal Sanctions Concerning Alcohol and Drugs

Local, state, and federal laws make the illegal use of drugs and alcohol a criminal offense. Conviction can lead to imprisonment, fines, and other penalties.

Cities and towns in Massachusetts prohibit public consumption of alcohol and impose fines for violation. The Department of Conservation and Recreation also prohibits public consumption of alcohol in its parks and public recreational areas. Boston and other cities and towns surrounding the various Tufts campuses have ordinances forbidding the possession of an open container of alcohol on any public street by any person of any age. Anyone choosing to violate such ordinances can be subject to arrest.

Massachusetts’ law prohibits the sale or delivery of alcoholic beverages to persons under age 21 with a fine of up to $2,000 or twelve months’ imprisonment, or both. Misrepresenting one’s age or falsifying an identification to obtain alcoholic beverages is punishable by fine. Included among penalties for the first conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol under Massachusetts law are a $5,000 fine, a one-year revocation of the person’s license, up to two and one half(2 ½) years in prison, and mandatory alcohol rehabilitation.

Massachusetts imposes criminal penalties for the possession and/or distribution of controlled substances, or drugs, without valid authorization, with penalties varying as to the type of drug. Sale and possession of “drug paraphernalia” is illegal in Massachusetts.
Under both Massachusetts and federal law, penalties for possession, manufacture, and distribution are greater for subsequent convictions, including mandatory prison terms and the full minimum term must be served.

Massachusetts makes it illegal to be in a place where heroin is kept and to be “in the company” of a person known to possess heroin.
Persons convicted of drug possession under state and federal law are ineligible for federal student grants and loans for up to one year after the first conviction and up to five years after the second. The penalty for unlawful distribution of drugs is loss of benefits for five years after the first conviction and for a longer period after the second.

Under federal law, penalties may be doubled when a person who is at least 18 years old distributes drugs within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school, or a public or private college to persons under 21 years of age and may include a mandatory one-year prison term.

Federal Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance

21 U.S.C. 844(a)

  • 1st conviction: Up to 1 year imprisonment and a fine of at least $1,000, or both.
  • After 1 prior drug conviction: At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years, and a fine of at least $2,500 or both.
  • After 2 or more prior drug convictions: At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years and a fine of at least $5,000, or both.

21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7)

  • Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than 1-year imprisonment. (See special sentencing provisions re: (crack).)

21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4)

  • Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.

21 U.S.C. 884a

  • Civil fine of up to $10,000 (pending adoption of final regulations).

21 U.S.C. 853a

  • Denial of Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, up to 1 year for first offense, up to 5 years for second and subsequent offenses.

Miscellaneous

  • Revocation of certain Federal licenses and benefits, e.g. pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, etc., are vested within the authorities of individual Federal agencies.
Federal Tracking Policies

Methamphetamine (10-99 gm or 100-999 gm mixture)
Heroin (100-999 gm mixture)
Cocaine (500-4999 gm mixture)
Cocaine Base (5-49 gm mixture)
PCP (10-99 gm or 100 – 999 gm mixture)
LSD (1-10 gm mixture)
Fentanyl (40-399 gm mixture)
Fentanyl Analogue (10-99 gm mixture)

  • 1st conviction: Not less than 5 years; not more than 40 years. (If death or serious injury: Not less than 20 years; not more than life.) Fine of not more than $2 million (individual).
  • 2nd conviction: Not less than 10 years; not more than life. (If death or serious injury: Not less than life.)

Methamphetamine (100+ gm or 1+ kg mixture)
Heroin (1+ kg mixture)
Cocaine (5+ kg mixture)
Cocaine Base (50+ gm mixture)
PCP (100+ gm or 1+ kg mixture)
LSD (10+ gm mixture)
Fentanyl (400+ gm mixture)
Fentanyl Analogue (100+ gm mixture)

  • 1st conviction: Not less than 10 years; not more than life. (If death or serious injury: Not less than 20 years; not more than life.) Fine of not more than $4 million (individual).
  • 2nd conviction: Not less than 20 years; not more than life. (If death or serious injury: Not less than life.)

Marijuana (1,000 kg or more mixture; or 1,000 or more plants)

  • 1st conviction: Not less than 10 years; not more than life. (If death or serious injury: Not less than 20 years; not more than life.) Fine of not more than $4 million (individual).
  • 2nd conviction: Not less than 20 years; not more than life. (If death or serious injury: Not less than life.) Fine of not more than $8 million (individual).

Marijuana (100-999 kg mixture; or 100-999 plants)

  • 1st conviction: Not less than 5 years; not more than 40 years. (If death or serious injury: Not less than 20 years; not more than life.) Fine of not more than $2 million (individual).
  • 2nd conviction: Not less than 10 years; not more than life. (If death or serious injury: Not less than life.) Fine of not more than $4 million (individual).

Marijuana (50-99 kg mixture; or 50-99 plants)

  • 1st conviction: Not more than 20 years. (If death or serious injury: Not less than 20 years; not more than life.) Fine of not more than $1 million (individual).
  • 2nd conviction: Not more than 30 years. (If death or serious injury: Not less than life.) Fine of not more than $2 million (individual).

Marijuana (<50 kg mixture; or < 50 plants)

  • 1st conviction: Not more than 5 years. Fine of not more than $250,000 (individual).
  • 2nd conviction: Not more than 10 years. Fine of not more than $500,000 (individual).
Dealing with an Alcohol Related Medical Emergency

People who are intoxicated or drugged to the point of unconsciousness or semi-consciousness are at serious risk. Individuals have died from alcohol poisoning or choking on aspirated vomit. Never leave an individual alone to “sleep it off” nor overestimate your own ability to assure his or her safety or to recognize the danger signs. Call Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS), available twenty-four hours per day, at x6-6911 (University Police dispatcher).

A TRUE FRIEND WOULD NOT HESITATE TO CALL FOR MEDICAL ASSISTANCE!